The New Face of Architecture
Hello, and welcome to Jacob Ideas, my platform for sharing with the world the things that make me most passionate in life. I love to design, create, write and inspire people to follow their own vision. If you are reading this you are probably someone interested in pursuing a more innovative purpose for design in today’s global world. Or maybe you are an entrepreneur at heart and are constantly seeking opinions and sources of input that can provide new insight into your own visions and dreams for the future. Or maybe you’re my mom and just want to support me no matter what I spew out across the world wide web.
Regardless of your reason, I thank you. The creation of this blog has long been a dream of mine and it is exciting to finally begin to apply skin to the bones of the project, which began for me a few years back (I’ll get to that in a bit). With every post that I write, it is my desire to not only share my own passions and discoveries regarding socially-minded design but also to create a relationship with you that helps to open your eyes to exciting opportunities, new ways of thinking, and personal stories of other entrepreneurs and designers just like you. I’ve realized that I have been too privileged with incredible experiences and people in my life not to share them with the world.
So what, you might ask, is the fire behind this blog? Let me tell you what I see. I see a new face of architecture. I see a movement that is challenging the social paradigms of the uses and applications of design, and the trends that I see indicate that this movement will only continue. As the world is getting smaller, the opportunities for alternative thinking are getting bigger. Unfortunately, the common thought that still prevails today is that design is solely meant for the upper class. Architects work for the elitists, not the impoverished. The unique purpose of design is to enhance the comfort levels of the comfortable while simultaneously widening the chasm between the haves and the have-nots. I was more than well aware of this paradigm and it began to dissuade me from my passion for the artistic field. As a designer interested in social justice, I found myself disillusioned with my field of interest and it’s apparent disjunction with my desire for making real, positive change in the world. If there was a chance of marriage between these two ideals I was failing to see the possibility of compatibility. Sure, I knew about designers making a difference through design. I was very well aware of the work that Cameron Sinclair had begun in the early 90’s with Architecture for Humanity and still continues to do. I also knew that it was not uncommon for for-profit firms to complete pro-bono (donated) design work. But somehow this still did not satisfy my idea of what the power of design could achieve. I couldn’t help but believe that the force of creativity, the shaper of dreams and worlds, was unable to give life to something greater than what I perceived to be untapped possibility.
All this changed for me in the summer of 2011 when I accepted an internship with an innovative, non-profit architecture firm called 100 Fold Studio. I can assure you this name will appear again in this blog as this experience was to reveal to me the even broader extents of design’s power that I had never seen or understood before. 100 Fold Studio to me represented a paradigm shift that allowed me to see new applications of creativity toward work that could truly make a difference. Their fresh view on both the structure and the purpose of a design firm made me begin to ask questions on what else could be possible. Since then my understanding of these possibilities has continued to broaden. I now understand that there is not one, singular path toward social-minded design, and while two people may have similar passions and goals before them, the choices they make and the directions they take may be polar opposites. I currently work for a for-profit firm, and an amazing one at that. Yet here I am, writing to you about the importance of socially minded architecture. Is this hypocritical of myself? I would say no. As I said earlier, similar visions do not dictate similar paths. While one may take the north face approach to ascend a mountain, another may take the south face. And yet another may politely wave to these two as he rides the chairlift to the summit. My understanding of creativity’s power has assured me that I am capable of designing my own way toward achieving fulfillment in my life’s work regardless of whether it follows a status quo. My experience with 100 Fold Studio was merely a catalyst for me in my journey, and while I will be the first to admit a lack of absolute certainty regarding each turn I make, I am eager to discover where the road leads. So I may not be currently working for Architecture for Humanity building disaster relief shelters in Haiti, I have chosen to place myself in more of a “preparative” stage, a launching pad that I hope to use to prepare myself for whatever lies before me. Further down the road I hope to share some of the action steps I have taken and hope to take as I continue my ascent upward toward the summit.
That’s my story. Its pretty short and hopefully sweet, but its my desire that what I have learned in my brief time of existence can serve to inspire you or, if nothing else, encourage you to ask questions about your own path. In my next blog, I look forward to sharing with you some of the reasons why I believe our future is full of exciting possibilities as the powers of design and creativity forcefully advance into a brave new world.